What’s more enticing than an entire village focused on the goodness of chocolate? Red Hook & the Chocolate Festival is set for the third year running to celebrate anything and everything made with that magical cacao bean this Saturday, November 5. “Our Festival does not have one location; it is dispersed all throughout Red Hook Village,” says Kimberley McGrath of the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce. “We have events happening everywhere; however, our Chocolate Vendor tent – one of the components of the day – is going to be located at the Municipal Parking Lot adjacent to Red Hook Village Hall at 7467 South Broadway.”
From there, visitors can meander around town to check out cooking demos, live music in the streets, a skateboard race, a Chocolate Wars dessert-making competition, the Chocolate Olympics at the Red Hook Public library and a theatrical performance at the Chocolate Factory. A horsedrawn haywagon will take folks to and from the village to the Factory at no charge. And there will be chocolate to taste and swoon over! And purchase, of course, should one’s passion for the stuff need further stoking when the day is done.
“We would love the name of Red Hook to be synonymous with chocolate,” says Chamber president Sean Jones. “As we approach our third Festival celebration, we are well on our way to making this a reality. Ultimately, the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce hopes to attract visitors to not only enjoy chocolate, but to experience the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that embodies our local businesses, organizations and its people.”
How did the Chamber of Commerce land on a chocolate theme to bring folks into the village? It turns out that there was, once upon a time, a chocolate factory in town. Baker Chocolate was established in 1888 by William H. Baker, who made up to 20,000 pounds a day at the height of production. The original building went through many incarnations and was abandoned in the 1980s. Resurrected by Dr. George Verrilli and made into office and retail space, it currently houses small and unique businesses. Check out one of its newest tenants, Arts at the Chocolate Factory, where theatrics will entertain visitors from 2 to 4 p.m.
The festivities combining village charm, history and the lure of chocolate start at 8:30 a.m. with a Hot Chocolate 5K Run, followed at 11:30 a.m. by an official welcome and tutorial, “How to Taste Chocolate,” led by chocolatier and master pastry chef Dan Budd of Taste Budd’s Café on Market Street. Cooking demos will take place at J & J Gourmet Café, Black Star Social and the Flatiron Restaurant, while the Historic Elmendorph Inn hosts a little chocolate history lesson, and traffic stops at the intersection of Routes 9 and 199 for the Chocolate Bomb Skateboard Race.
While exploring chocolate in all its delicious manifestations, visitors will be serenaded by performers in various spots throughout the village, the lineup including Jan Ross, Lannie Bolde, Anastasia Falcon, Ditto, Steve Beer and Phillip Zemke, James Burke, Mätt Lintzenich, Katie Pierce, Andy Shapiro, David C. Hemingway, Matthew Kobalkin, Mike Ferrell, Lisa Cassidy and Maggie Rothwell. Check the Festival’s Facebook page for the schedule of events and any additional announcements. And don’t forget to buy a chocolate bar and search for the Golden Ticket. Roald Dahl would approve!
Red Hook & the Chocolate Festival is free and open to all chocoholics. Feed your need!